Shoulders rounded, head forward and eyes down. Reminded of anyone you know?
It’s human nature to assume this Quasimodo-like trend is “no big deal,” but your Grandmother was wise when she told you to “stand up straight!”
SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING
New studies are confirming what common sense already tells us…that sitting will put you on an unhealthy path. Even worse, researchers are discovering that while exercise is good for you, it may not mitigate all of the negative effects of sitting for prolonged periods. This is bad news for those who work hard and then play hard as a way to stay healthy.
Still, the worst news is for those who sit and don’t move regularly or exercise. In a 2012 study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, those who watched the most television compared to those who viewed the least, had a 61% increased chance of dying from anything.
DO YOU HAVE A POSTURE PROBLEM OR A HEALTH PROBLEM?
There’s no question prolonged sitting increases mechanical stresses on the vertebrae, ligaments, discs, muscles and other tissues leading to degenerative changes in the spine and a deterioration of posture.
Not only could this lead to an unpleasant aesthetic with the head sitting forward and the upper back humped…it more importantly reflects a significant health problem.
The list of confirmed collateral damage from excessive sitting continues to grow and some of the conditions may even be surprising.
Heart disease, metabolic syndrome, increased cancer risk, decreased concentration, focus and even osteoporosis.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT?
The most obvious action step is to stop or at least reduce the amount of sitting (more specifically prolonged sitting) that you are engaging in each week.
Assuming you still need to sit to some degree, here are 3 quick and easy tips to help you get started.
- Take a break. Walk away from your workstation every 20 minutes. Set a timer on your phone and commit yourself to getting up, walking around and practice some stretching.
- Sit tall. While sitting, reach your head to the ceiling, keep your ears over your shoulders and your chin tucked in.
- Break the mold. Try a stand up workstation or trade your chair for an unstable ball.